November is a continuation of the robust planting we can do in our fall garden, along with harvesting the last of the summer crops of produce and herbs. [Pictures is my herb harvest ready to dry or use. Check out my recipe for "Herb Soup", below.]
Bay, Greek (Sweet)
Endive (and Chicory)
Garlic (only as green garlic)
EDIBLE FLOWERS TO PLANT:
Cornflower (Bachelor Buttons)
Jasmine Sambac (Arabian)
Marigolds, including Tangerine Scented (Tagetes Lemonii), Citrus Scented (Tagetes Nelsonii)
Sweet William (Dianthus)
GARDEN TIPS for November
First frost date average is around November 17th.
Frost in the Valley at the 1100 or lower elevations is usually limited to ‘soft frost’ where simple cloth sheets or paper placed over sensitive plants (or moving potted plants beneath patios or trees) is sufficient to protect them. Never use plastic covers as the plastic transmits the cold to the plant tips.
For every 1000 feet over 1100 in elevation the first frost day is moved forward 10 days. The possibility of hard (killing) frosts starts to occur, although at 2000 feet or lower this is still a rare occurrence.
Frost pockets in the Valley can surprise gardeners. As a matter of practice, if the weather forecasters predict an overnight temperature of 40 F, I prepare for frost by protecting my sensitive plants with cloth or paper covers This is because heat retention by buildings and walls dissipates by early morning (4 or 4:30 a.m. to dawn the temperature can drop 8 degrees plus or minus).
Frost danger continues until about mid-February.
Cool weather annuals and biennials can be sown every 2-4 weeks (beginning in August) through the end of November for a continuous crop through next spring.
November through January can be a ‘rainy’ season for the desert. You can usually hold off on regular watering if you have received a half inch or more of rain within 2 days of normal watering days. Make good use of your water meter to determine soil moisture.
If rains are heavy this month, in addition to foregoing some water days, you may need to put down Ironite or green sand to compensate for mineral bonding (which makes iron unavailable to the plants) due to both the excess water and the cold soil.
The best way to think of frost damage on your edibles is the damaged plant material is now a partial protective cover to the underlying growth.
As mentioned in prior notes, frost damage in the lower desert gardens is usually limited to 'soft' frost which is controlled by simply putting cloth or paper covers over the plants at night, or if containers, moving them under evergreen trees or onto the patio.
IF, however we get hard or killing frosts, of extended periods or days, die-back will occur even on protected plants. The reason is the radiant heat retained by structures and even the soil dissipates completely, leaving the plants exposed to too-cold air.
Whether the frost damage is from soft or hard frosts if the plant is still alive DO-NOT-REMOVE-THE-DAMAGE. Doing so risks damaging the growth still alive under the top die-back. I don't remove even dead plants until spring. I have found basil seedlings coming up under a large dead basil plant killed off by a hard frost.
Obviously we like our gardens to look pretty most of the time, but selectively resisting the urge to pull something a little bedraggled gives you, the gardener, access to earlier production of the warm weather plants because of their larger root systems.
Herb SoupFrom the book : “101+ Recipes From The Herb Lady” - by Catherine Crowley
A wonderful blend of herbs, lettuces, croutons and cheese. The greatness of this soup, besides its fabulous flavor, is the ability to vary the herbs, lettuces, croutons and cheeses for different flavors. I developed this recipe from Provencal soups.
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
4 cups mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used Thai basil, cilantro, parsley, see note below*)
1 package spring lettuce mix
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups boiling water (can use broth - but try the water the first time)
6 cups croutons (any stale bread diced will work too - some day-old nice artisinal breads would be great for this)
3/4 cups Parmesan cheese or more if you like
Set aside 1/2 cup each of herbs and lettuces for garnish. Divide croutons and cheese into 6 soup bowls.
Saute shallot in butter for 1 minute. Add herbs, salt, and lettuces all at once and cook—stirring for 5 minutes. Add boiling water, cover and simmer for 15 minutes—stirring occasionally. Ladle greens and broth into soup bowls. Add garnish of herbs and lettuces to each bowl. Serve and enjoy. Serves 6.
*Traditional recipes call for sorrel and chervil or any combination you like - the Thai Basil has a tarragon aspect to it which mimic the chervil with a kick and cilantro's citrus back-note mimic the sorrel.
Harvest Soup Recipe for using greens and herbs from your garden, along with sweet potatoes. I posted this on the blog back in February 2009.
-- Catherine, The Herb Lady
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